International PR: Successfully communicating beyond national borders28 July 2022
Communication – 27 Jul 22Hundreds of
countries, hundreds of languages, hundreds of cultures: international communication is enormously complex and harbors many hurdles and pitfalls. How can successful PR be achieved in an international environment? What are the dos and don’ts? What are the peculiarities of different cultures and countries? We support companies in around 170 countries in their successful PR work – and show what is important when communicating across national borders.
is international PR?
Public relations is used by companies or organizations to strategically communicate their own interests and communication goals to the outside world. In recent years, communication across national borders has become increasingly important. Because not only do many products and services increasingly cross regional, national or cultural borders due to the global networking of markets and supply chains – and not least due to digitalization. Professional PR and communications work is also joining this process.
While local PR focuses on individual country or regional levels, international and global PR is oriented toward campaigns and communication measures that are used by companies or organizations across countries. We speak of international PR activities when these are adapted and specifically played out for each country. Communication strategies are therefore tailored very precisely to the respective media landscape and the culture of the target group.
In the case of global PR, measures are used in a standardized manner and thus function across different market and cultural boundaries. The goals also differ accordingly: international PR focuses on an individual target group approach with orientation to country-specific aspects, while global PR targets standardized communication with a global orientation for a nationwide image.
Simple and uncomplicated international communicationWe
advise you on country-specific features, translate press releases if required and distribute your press release with ots-international via our strong partner network of international agencies
. Learn more
In both cases, it is important for international public relations to take into account the specifics of individual markets and cultures. Because in order to be able to communicate authentically and successfully abroad (and thus support the strategic goals of the company), PR professionals must pay attention to a number of things. Often, for example, it is not enough to transfer communication strategies to different countries and locations (for example, from the home market) using a template.
The global media landscapes, the different requirements of journalists and consumers and, last but not least, the cultures are too different. International PR therefore requires a conscious examination of one’s own goals, the target market and the target group there.
Why the importance of international communication is changingProfessional
communication plays a key role in managing and controlling the reputation and branding of a company
.en. At the same time, globalization has softened local boundaries of communication: New information and media channels (especially the Internet and social media) have meant that spatial and temporal limitations in the area of information procurement and media consumption have given way to constant availability. People today consume information at a completely different speed and retrievability than just a few years ago. As a result, the field of action of potential communication situations, e.g., a crisis situation, is much larger nowadays and is tracked in real time on the Internet or smartphone. Companies must therefore react more quickly and in a more comprehensive manner.
For PR professionals, this means that the communication and press work of companies and organizations is now more open and no longer limited to individual locations – consumers, consumers or politics follow actions from all over the world and react actively to messages or events, e.g. in social media. This is no easy task for professional communications, which on the one hand should act transnationally, but at the same time must adapt to local conditions. At the same time, international PR offers companies huge opportunities to tap into new target groups and expand their field of business. Good press and media relations can accompany product launches in new markets, strengthen the market position and sustainably support the reputation.
For whom is international communication suitable and what should one pay attention to?
It is a common misconception that only large players with headquarters in numerous countries can or should communicate internationally. Many small and medium-sized companies have already successfully entered the international arena and have thus been able to strengthen their market position. Basically, if you offer a product or service and are either already active in various countries or are planning to enter, you should address the issue in the long and short term.
Experience shows that German-speaking companies tend to focus on European countries at the beginning because of the cultural and linguistic proximity. But even here there can be stumbling blocks that should be covered in advance. It can be helpful, especially when starting out, to call in experts who not only know the local media landscape, but can tailor communications specifically to the needs. news aktuell supports companies, institutions and associations with a network of agencies, media and journalists in around 170 countries in successfully distributing PR content to all media formats, such as classic print titles, TV and radio, high-click online portals or social networks.
We place press releases across national borders with multipliers, editorial offices and international experts, as well as in online portals, databases, search engines and social media platforms. Your texts, images and videos thus reach the right contact person at the right local time and in the right language. If required, we can also assist with the translation of press releases into foreign languages (within 48 hours) and advise you on communication peculiarities per country, e.g. time zones and customs.
Which stumbling blocks s
ould be avoided in concrete terms?
When planning and implementing a global or international PR strategy, a number of things should be considered in advance. One crucial point is to get to grips with the local media landscape: What exactly is its structure and what special features are there (e.g., in dealing with journalists)? Are there current trends that can be used for communication or that need to be taken into account? Which competitors are already active? What about the political situation? Are there local laws or government restrictions that must be observed? How are sensitive topics such as alcohol, gambling or tobacco handled in the respective country?
However, the biggest stumbling blocks in international communication involve three crucial points in particular: cultural aspects, language barriers and media landscapes. Even when communicating across national borders, one fundamental principle applies: you have to know your target group. Who should be reached, when, where and how? Because only those who know who they want to address can conduct targeted research, for example, to choose the language and communication channels appropriately.
Find international journalist contactsWith
the journalist database zimpel you can easily find media contacts from all over the world. In zimpel you will find over 612,000 data records of contacts including the media and topics for which they work. This allows you to compile press distribution lists and send out mailings in a flash.
Learn more about zimpelIn view of the
current changes, the local media landscape must also be examined more closely. Digital media offerings, transmission paths and end devices enable new types of communication channels and have an immense influence on media usage behavior. The current Covid 19 pandemic is also rapidly accelerating this change. In China, for example, it is now common to contact journalists via WeChat Messenger due to the strong digital dominance of communication. Communication channels of this kind have rarely been conceivable in Germany. An up-to-date and detailed analysis of the media landscape including working methods in the target nations or regions is therefore essential for optimal international PR.
From verbal to non-verbal languageTo
best possible use of the right channels in terms of language, a native speaker should be cons
Only those who have a command of the local language and know the culture of the target group can find the right words, formulate clearly and convey emotions correctly.
Non-verbal language, values and norms, as well as laws can present further hurdles, depending on the topic. This is often reflected in the use of images: a small gesture such as a “thumbs up” for “super” in Germany is considered an insult in Iran. Another example is alcohol, which is considered a drug in some countries and must therefore be avoided in PR images or in texts corresponding to the target region and presented differently in the press release, for example. In some cases, there are also laws that prohibit certain communications, such as the ban on food with integrated toys in America. A surprise egg application thus causes difficulties in the USA.
ernational PR should always adaptOne
particular example of diverse needs is India. In this developing country, which is also one of the world’s leading IT nations, there is a strong divide between urban and rural populations, between rich and poor, and thus also between media equipment and use. In Germany, around 94% of the population uses the Internet, whereas in India only 45% do. In addition, India has over 100 languages and more than 500 different dialects. With all these languages, those who communicate only in English reach only about 6% of all readers, while a full 45% can be reached with Hindi. In addition, caution is advised when it comes to the topic of religion. Even though it is a very important topic, it is usually a taboo subject for foreign companies in their communication.
Conclusion: There is no general procedure or recipe for successful PR campaigns. Both the media landscapes and the cultural differences are different in every country and as individual as a fingerprint. Of course, a global campaign can be used for uniform branding with certain values, but this must be considered very carefully according to the countries included.
Checklist international PR
- What do I want to achieve (goals)?
- Who do I want to reach (target groups)?
- What are my topics and messages?
- Which countries do I want to serve?
- What does the local media landscape look like?
- Is the Internet available everywhere (important for communication channels)?
- Which communication channels should be used?
- Which cultural differences do I have to take into account?
- What are the vacations, vacations or time differences?
- Are translations necessary?
- Which visual language do I have to consider?
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